Asian markets mostly up, but Tokyo falls
Market watch top headlines
HONG KONG, Feb 13 AFP
February 13 2013, 10:31PM
Most Asian markets have closed higher, but Tokyo sank on profit-taking and a stronger yen.
The Japanese currency picked up after a Group of Seven (G7) statement that said "excessive volatility" in exchange markets hurts financial stability, as they tried to calm talk of currency wars ahead of this week's G20 meeting.
Sydney jumped 0.9 per cent, or 44.7 points, to 5,003.7 on Wednesday - closing above the 5,000-point mark for the first time since April 2010 - and Seoul rose 1.56 per cent, or 30.28 points, to 1,976.07.
But Tokyo, which surged on Tuesday, fell 1.04 per cent, or 117.71 points, to 11,251.41.
Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei were closed for public holidays.
The G7 statement was published ahead of Friday's G20 in Moscow, where exchange rates are expected to figure prominently after Japan took steps to boost its economy and exports.
Japan's recent policy of monetary easing - which it has said is aimed at boosting the economy - has fuelled concerns around the world that countries will embark on a round of currency weakening to boost their exports.
But Tokyo on Tuesday rejected claims it was trying to force down the yen, saying the new conservative government's big spending and pressure on the central bank for aggressive easing was designed to stoke growth.
"There is no change in Japan's position," Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters.
"Japan's new government is carrying out monetary policy and economic policy appropriately in order to pull out of a long-running, deflation-induced downturn. There is nothing more to say."
In early European trade the dollar bought Y93.30, while the euro was at Y125.60, compared with Y93.47 and Y125.75 late on Tuesday in New York. That compares with Y94.05 and Y125.61 in Asia earlier on Tuesday.
The euro bought $US1.3458 on Wednesday morning, compared with $US1.3450 in US trade.
Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at Okasan Securities, said: "The yen may be on the agenda at the G20."
"Stocks are likely to face selling for now," he told Dow Jones Newswires.
Wall Street provided a healthy lead ahead of US President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
The Dow rose 0.34 per cent to its best close since October 2007, while the S&P 500 added 0.16 per cent to also reach a fresh five-year peak. The Nasdaq slipped 0.17 per cent.
Oil prices edged higher, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, up eight cents to $US97.59 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for March delivery gaining five cents to $US118.71.
Gold was at $US1,647.77 by 1035 GMT (2135 AEDT) compared with $US1,641.90 late on Tuesday.
In other markets:
- Mumbai rose 0.24 per cent, or 47.04 points, to 19,608.08 points.
Indian IT outsourcer TCS rose 1.58 per cent to a record 1,430.5 rupees, while United Breweries fell 9.26 per cent to 642.5 rupees.
- Bangkok added 1.69 per cent, or 25.16 points, to close at 1,514.11.
Coal giant Banpu gained 1.87 per cent, or 7.00 baht, to 381.00 baht, and Petrochemical group PTT Plc rose 4.03 per cent, or 14.00 baht, to 361.00 baht.
- Singapore closed up 0.94 per cent, or 30.74 points, to 3,301.04.
United Overseas Bank gained 1.89 per cent to Sg$19.40 and Singapore Telecom increased 0.84 per cent to Sg$3.60.
- Jakarta closed up 0.51 per cent, or 23.33 points, to 4,571.57.
Tobacco maker Gudang Garam rose 1.21 per cent to 50,1000 rupiah, while miner Aneka Tambang fell 0.73 per cent to 1,360 rupiah.
- Kuala Lumpur gained 0.45 per cent, or 7.36 points, to close at 1,631.16.
Axiata Group added 0.5 per cent to 6.29 ringgit, AirAsia rose 0.8 per cent to 2.68 and Genting Malaysia shed 1.3 per cent to 3.73 ringgit.
- Wellington was flat, edging up 3.27 points to 4,221.40.
- Manila closed 1.05 per cent higher, adding 68.06 points to 6,527.99.
Puregold Price Club gained 1.55 per cent to 36 pesos while SM Investments Corp. rose 0.30 per cent to 1,003 pesos.
By Danny McCord